Uganda’s pop star turned politician, Bobi Wine, has formally announced he will run for president in 2021.
The Member of Parliament leading a “people power movement” to end President Yoweri Museveni 33-year-rule also unveiled his campaign team at his home in Kampala on Wednesday.
Wine said he was not running under any political party and the revolutionary movement seeks to create “a society which works for everyone.”
“I will personally once again tell you of my willingness and readiness to lead you (Ugandans) in that effort — the effort to usher our country into a new era of freedom and justice,” Wine said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Wine is expected to challenge Museveni in the country’s 2021 elections. Museveni has ruled since 1982 and has changed the constitution twice to extend his stay in office. He has not declared his intention to run in the next elections.
Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has been staging a high-profile campaign to unseat Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving presidents.
The 37-year-old reggae star has sung songs that are highly critical of the President and continues to speak against his government in the East African nation.
He joined politics in 2017 and won a parliamentary seat as an independent in the same year. He calls himself the Ghetto President and led opposition lawmakers and activists to condemn some government policies.
Wine, however, gained global prominence in 2018 following his arrest alongside several opposition politicians accused of stoning the President’s convoy.
He was charged with treason, and his military detention sparked protests from Ugandans and rights activists abroad until his release.
The MP said he was tortured in prison, allegations the President dismissed as fake news.
Wine was placed under house arrest in May after his performances were canceled for failing to meet safety regulations. The pop star said it was a move to silence his ambitions.